How are you feeling?

I get asked this a lot now. I know it comes from a good place but the real answer is, I don’t know how I feel. And I don’t want to explain what that means when I say it.

From the outside, I suppose I look fine, like nothing is wrong, tired at worst. From the inside, I feel like I’m floating around in my own body, not grounded and not myself at all. My emotions are scattered and inconsistent. My energy is high then surprisingly low.

When we ask, “How are you feeling?” We expect people to say: I’m good or not good, I’m better or I’m worse. I have no way to articulate how I feel because I am not putting a judgement on it. Since I have no ability to bullshit, I have taken to saying, “I’m not myself.” I don’t have a cold with a known, finite outcome. Half the inquirers go the route of trying to pick me up with praise (please don’t), some express apology (which is a little better because I don’t feel like I’m at the receiving end of a make-it-better situation), and the rest give me an “oh girl” and hug me. I prefer the last option. It’s real and honest, and I don’t need to be cheered up.

I’m not miserable, I’m just unclear. I’m not myself right now and that’s just how it is.

My body is moving through something that takes time and doesn’t have a linear path. It’s a jagged road with peaks, valleys, abrupt stops and sharp right turns. Sometimes it feels like I’m going backwards. But I’m moving.

I get the need to try to make someone feel better. Certainly, we all have moments where it’s necessary to assemble our own personal cheering section, but this isn’t one of them.

In the last month, I have developed a routine of my medication along with my own holistic rituals – supplements, tea, acupuncture, meditation, exercise and SLEEP. I go to bed at 8:30 or 9:00 almost every night and have limited my social plans to a very small group of people because mostly, I need to be quiet and I want to rest. Texting good, phone calls not good. Sometimes it seems a little Golden Girls, other times I remind myself that people go through these things and nothing stays the same; it’s not forever.

I went to the ophthalmologist yesterday. Let’s talk about this eye thing for a moment. I have bags and puffy eyes, my left eyeball feels like it’s protruding out of my head (because it is). In the mornings I can see it actually bulging and I get asked why my eyes are red at least once a day (embarrassing). The other night I was at dinner with a girlfriend and the owner of the restaurant told her she was beautiful, then looked at me and that said I “just look tired.” I wanted to slide off my chair and hide under the bar.

Turns out, I have large optic nerves that are “cupping” [still unclear on this but it sounds interesting] likely caused by the Graves’. There’s a pocket of fluid in my left eye that if I look close enough it freaks me out, so I stay away from up close make-up application. This may be a problem it may not. But I have to wait. The Graves’ antibodies are still active and until they aren’t there’s nothing to be done. It’s the waiting and tracking game. Nothing is “wrong” so I wait and I go back in three months.

Additionally, I had more blood drawn to see how my thyroid levels are doing. Waiting for those to come back to provide info as well.

So the question, “How are you feeling?” actually stresses me out. Yo, I don’t know how I’m feeling. For me, the bigger questions are what should I be looking at in this experience? What am I supposed to learn or look at differently? What’s my lesson here? Or, how can I change?

This isn’t a moment for a cheering section. It’s a moment when while I wait, I may as well do some work.

–ZG

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